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TV viewers to benefit from two more satellites
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-22 23:14

Rural residents in some of the most remote regions will soon be able to watch TV programmes, as the government plans to launch two broadcasting satellites next year.

Guo Yansheng, deputy director of the Science and Technology Committee under the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT), said Tuesday that the penetration rate of TV and radio broadcasting has reached 95 per cent through cable TV and terrestrial broadcasting.

Speaking at a Satellite Industry Forum during the China Cable Broadcasting Network exhibition in Beijing, he said further increasing this rate requires a lot of investment, with satellite broadcasting likely to play an important role.

It is estimated that increasing the penetration rate by one percentage point will cost between 3 and 4 billion yuan (US$360-480 million), so the total investment needed for a saturation network would be huge.

Zhang Haitao, vice-minister of SARFT, said China will launch two direct-broadcast satellites in the middle of next year to serve TV and radio customers in remote regions.

The domestic-made SinoSat 2 satellite will act as a primary satellite, while ChinaSat 9 made by Alcatel will be used as a backup. The satellites will be able to transmit more than 100 channels of programmes.

He said China will also accelerate the pace of development of broadcasting satellites.

While some cable TV operators are worried that satellite broadcasting will lure away their customers, Guo said it will be complimentary to the current broadcasting systems, as it mainly targets rural and remote regions.

The target of broadcasting TV and radio programmes to every village in the country has been set.

Zhang said SARFT aims to provide a service to an additional half a million people in 100,000 villages this year through terrestrial broadcasting, and to increase the number of channels available to rural viewers to eight.

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